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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 4:30 pm 
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Oh that's fabulous to hear! I saw their debut in the leads last summer, but It must have been very fun to see them in the pas de trois!! Great hearing your review of the performance! I've never seen Part do anything and hopefully in the near future I will get to! :) Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:17 pm 
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Quote:
Part’s Odette was a suffering, sumptuous creature whose pain sometimes looked like, um uh um, a certain kind of ecstasy.


Oh, darn, Poohtunia, now you're making me sorry for not making the continental crossing this past weekend.


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 Post subject: Swan Lake
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:44 pm 
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
ABT is very conscious of its responsibilities as a conservator of ballet history, as it explicitly demonstrated at Friday’s performance of “Swan Lake.” Who should appear in the mime role of “Wolfgang, tutor to the prince” than living legend Frederic Franklin. It was immediately clear that the ageless master (he’s pushing 91) had been a tutor to the entire company, which danced with the technical precision and weightless elegance that characterize the classic Maryinsky style, which Franklin, Danilova, and their Ballets Russes colleagues brought to the West.

The adherence to classic style is quite appropriate to this production, first seen in 2000, which hews closely to traditional lines. When it comes to the most famous ballet in the world, this is a sound artistic strategy. There are a few minor interpolations, like a gratuitous “prelude” and double-casting Rothbart as a bizarre giant toad and a mustachioed villain. But Kevin McKenzie has tried his best to re-create the world of Old St. Petersburg. The banal sets and costumes by Zack Brown, however, and the painfully slow tempi taken by conductor Charles Barker reminded me of the bad old days of dreary, routinier Swan Lakes.

Fortunately, the rest of the performance more than compensated. In the first act, Xiomara Reyes, Yuriko Kariiya, and Hernan Cornejo gave a dazzling reading to the pas de trios, an exquisite demonstration of effortless virtuosity. Marcelo Gomes was commanding as the more mobile version of Rothbart, and the ethnic dances of the Third Act were dispatched with panache.

And the leading roles? Gillian Murphy was a tender, beautifully poised Odette. Her buttery line, gorgeous port de bras, and splendid technique have made her both a star and an ideal Odette. As Odile, she made a point of adding brass, punching up the moves, and completing all those famous fouettés. (Earlier in her career, Murphy was accused of a lack of stamina.) Her Siegfried was José Manuel Carreño, every inch the danseur noble. He dispatched his variations with glorious insouciance, and partnered Murphy with flawless technique. But there was precious little chemistry between the two, and the performance lacked an emotional core.

I found it a satisfying performance, on the grounds that no one has ever seen the perfect “Swan Lake” and this one offered many pleasures. The tourist-heavy crowd, however, leaped to its feet and cheered as if it had just seen the second coming. I will ride THAT hobby horse elsewhere!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:21 am 
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Tuesday night’s Swan Lake starred guest artist Diana Vishneva. But first things first. Mr. Franklin got his grand entrance back. However, instead of coming down the staircase, he marched up the middle of the stage arms outstretched just as the curtain opened. What a great compromise! This is something he will be able to do until he’s 100.

Vishneva was magnificent - both as Odette and Odile, although I enjoyed her Odile more - especially when she threw her head left and hissed. It was wonderful! A flick of her wrist spoke volumes about her disdain for the poor smitten prince. Her movement was very expansive - big, big, big, but without looking extreme. Spacious port de bras. Everything she did was big, but it never looked like it approached her limits. She accelerated her single fouettes to an incredible speed. After the first couple of turns traveled forward, she then performed the remainder on that proverbial invisible quarter placed on the floor. Not an impressive finish to them, however. (Come to think of it, we haven’t seen any great finishes to this sequence this year. Finishes count for a lot - just ask the ABT men.) Vishneva’s Odette was all fairytale. Musical, lush and heartfelt The details were so pretty in the Act II PdD - the tilt of the head, the deep sighs. But something was missing. It seemed to be a one person show.

There was a late cast change for Prince Siegfried. Beloserkovsky, who had just replaced Stiefel in the casting a week or so ago, was replaced by Gennadi Saveliev. One really hopes that this was done out of authentic need as opposed to behind-the-scenes drama. Saveliev, who has been so good all season, portrayed Siegfried as a supporting role to Vishneva in a production which Kevin McKenzie claims is all about the prince. Saveliev’s every movement seemed to be performed in order to make someone else look wonderful. He was one of the crowd - not their prince who would one day be their king. Every time he gestured or hung his head or stepped forward, I kept thinking, yes but more. No one will ever accuse Saveliev of being inelegant or unrefined. Just give us more weight to the movement. - perhaps a new name for the character, like Prince Lankendem That said, I have to admit that Saveliev’s pirouettes with the slow, soft landings to fourth position with arms outstretched were to die for. And Vishneva will not likely ever have a more gracious, selfless partner.

Sascha Radetsky’s von Rothbart was strictly dangerous. Explosive sissonnes. I think he has a chance of emerging from Gomes’ shadow in this role.

PdT was Cornejo, Reyes and Kajiya. Phenomenal. Of course.

And last, but not least, the orchestra got quite a surprise during bows last night. Vishneva walked right off the dance flooring up to the very edge of the stage, the VERY edge, leaned way out over the orchestra pit and waved her lovely Odette swarms all over the orchestra to thank them. The musicians were tickled pink. Me, too.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:41 am 
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Prologue: Do I go to Swan Lake again or do I pay my rent? Do I pay my rent or do I go to Swan Lake for a fifth time? Hmmm. Let me think a moment.

Last night’s Swan Lake starred guest artist Carlos Acosta and Michele van Hamel. No, wait. Martine van Wiles. No, wait. Let me check my Playbill. It was Carlos Acosta and newly appointed principal Michele Wiles. But, let me continue with my point: Wiles’ performance was reminiscent of van Hamel’s in a couple of wonderful respects. First, she’s a sturdy dancer, so square and on top of her legs just like van Hamel always was. Second, her dancing was refreshingly unaffected. She was like the smart, pretty girl in the beautiful dress who knew that she needed no jewelry - just trust the dress. Great balances. On pirouettes, she dropped her chin and drilled the turns into the floor like a high speed Black & Decker. Odile finished her unwavering fouettes with a neat, fast double pirouette to fourth - a finish with panache and punch. Where Odile was darkly spirited, Odette was spiritual and loving and oh so despairing. Wouldn’t it be great to see Odette with real tears streaming down her face?

Acosta was great. I was stunned at how skillful he used a moment when the music stopped so that Siegfried could walk to his preparation for the next variation. Usually a non-eventful moment, Acosta looked out, smiled and clutched his heart to express his love/infatuation for Odile -- all in silence. His dancing was superb and king-like. Acosta is a very big personality on the stage - the more dramatic the role, the better. How is it possible that he is not Albrecht this year?

Danny Tidwell and Grant deLong were very exciting in the Neapolitan. A couple of great turners there.

I’m really bummed that I can’t go to see Gomes and Part again tonight. Someone else will have to report - MorrisNeighbor, Balletomaniac - come on, go see it. Make Azlan even more sorry that he didn’t come to NYC this spring. The FDNY is on alert in case things get too hot on stage tonight.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:26 pm 
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Poohtunia wrote:
Make Azlan even more sorry that he didn’t come to NYC this spring. The FDNY is on alert in case things get too hot on stage tonight.


I didn't know you had such a cruel streak in you. However, I would indeed the FDNY on hand...

Is it just me or is ABT actually returning to glory days...


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:33 am 
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I thought that the Wiles/Acosta Swan Lake was a great success. :D Acosta came out as a happy-go-lucky prince. Without a doubt, his dancing was bold. His was a happy prince who was enjoying his friends, drink, and dancing. Until the queen came in to remind him of his duties as heir to the throne. His mood canged from jovial and confident, to troubled and uncertain. His mood turns into a mesmerized youth in love and ready to commit his life to Odile. But just as he is ready to seal his doom, Wiles Odile tells him no, because she knows the terrible fate that waits for him. Wiles is very long, and taller than Acosta on pointe. But it did not make a difference. Acosta is one of the best partners in the world. The chemistry between both dancers, while not electricfying, was enough to enhance the performance. The Black Swan PDD was exciting. And this was Wiles in her infancy as a Swan Queen, who danced a bit older. She dances within her abilities....to great effect.
Acosta is simply one of the great classical dancers of this or any generation.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:14 pm 
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Hallberg as von Rothbart! Beyond evil. Positively satanic. :twisted: Friday night's cast of Herrera, Acosta and Hallberg was outstanding. Here it was the ninth Swan Lake of the season, and the opera house was once again packed. Sitting in the very front row, and giving a standing ovation, was my favorite NYCB principal!

Back to Hallberg. Such a wonderful surprise to see this character come out of him. As he strutted around the stage staring down everyone and anyone who dared look his way, you saw immediately where his sweet daughter Odile picked up that habit. His face-offs with Acosta were very physical. Oh, it was good stuff, so good. (Danseur, Hallberg looks in tip-top shape.)

Herrera was superb tonight with more emphasis on Odile. Last Saturday matinee, her Odette was stronger. Tonight Odile seduced Siegfried with those incredible feet and powerfully extended legs. She slowly extended some of her developpés as though she were trying to push a cement block with the top of her arched foot. There was such strength in the movement. She was daring in her turns. An all around fantastic performance.

Acosta was even better than on Wednesday evening. (Leftyvaldes, I hope you got to see this one, too.) His confrontations with Hallberg were worth the price of the ticket.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:03 am 
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Great to hear Pootunia!! I'm sad i've missed all of this exicting ballet this summer! This will be the first summer since 2000 that I've not been in NYC! :cry: Which also means I've not seen ABT or NYCB since last June!! I was going to be coming this summer, but I myself will be performing unexpectedly! Which is great, but I am so very jealous hearing about all of these great performances(especially, Wiles and Hallberg and Kent, can you tell? :P )

Thank you soo much for all of your reports! I look forward to Giselle next week!(especially Kents and Wiles Myrtha)

Cheers!!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:47 am 
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Danseur, not sure when I’ll get to Giselle. Probably Wed thru Sat, if I can wait until then. It is one of my favorites. That whole concept of chasing down the unfaithful man, dancing him into the ground, and finally pushing him into the lake can be so enticing. Everything is beautiful, and justice prevails, at the ballet.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:25 pm 
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Ah, what I wouldn't give to see Acosta in Swan Lake!!! :wink: And yes, I agree Poohtunia, why are we not seeing him in Giselle? All in good time, I guess. Ah, this season seems like an embarrasment of riches. :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 12:26 am 
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Today the Gallup people published poll results which indicate that 1 in 3 of us believes in ghosts and spirits. Tonight at The Met, the percentage was probably quite higher thanks to a superb Giselle from Vishneva, Corella, Part and a brilliant corps. Act II was masterful. Vishneva overcame her beauty to deliver the true essence of Giselle - that essence being character and love so strong that she could forgive the most hurtful of betrayals. Corella portrayed Albrecht as an innocent in Act I, who was devastated upon fully realizing his stupidity in Act II. I’ve always preferred the interpretation of Albrecht as the less respectable guy who’s probably been betraying women all of his life with little consequence until now. Vishneva and Corella danced beautifully together. My one disappointment was during an early entrance when she raced up the diagonal and Albrecht lifted her past him as she continued on that diagonal. It’s not supposed to look like a lift. His hands are supposed to look like they passed through her spirit. Tonight, it definitely looked like a lift. Other than that, all went very well.

Part as Myrtha was commanding but not intimidating. Her jumps were incredible. Her line unending. All of her movement was very secure - none of the little bobbles we saw in Swan Lake. Part’s physical beauty is so overwhelming that, at times, Myrtha’s hostilities seemed diluted by it.

A surprise standout was corps member Melissa Thomas as Moyna. She really captured the style of a flowing spirit bent on revenge.

Act I probably isn’t anyone’s favorite. The new costumes looked nice. What I missed was the foreshadowing of Giselle’s madness. While there was hint of a weak heart, there was nothing to suggest that her madness was possible. I vividly recall such artistry in the Kirov’s Sologub and, of course, Kirkland. One needs to see from the outset that there is a little something wrong with the girl. Maybe I just couldn’t see it with my binoculars from my unfavorite balcony. But I was looking for it.

We’re into the eighth week of the season, and still no lapses of concentration from the corps. Excellent showing tonight. It was very nice to see Misty Copeland dancing again.

Tomorrow night Gomes is Albrecht. What will he do!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:21 am 
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OK Poohtunia. Time for me to rejoin the ranks. Briefly. Been very busy.

You scooped me on the review of Vishneva's Giselle. I agree with you. Will post a review later when I have a chance. Vishneva's Giselle was about as close to perfection as I've ever seen. And she and Corella were phenomenal together. Of all the wonderful Giselle's that I've seen (Ferri, Harvey, Makarova, Tcherkassky, Fracci, and lord knows how many others, Gelsey Kirkland's was my favorite. I can't say that Vishneva made me forget Gelsey. But Vishneva's performance stands on its own not just as a "Giselle for our time" (as Kisselgoff's review at the time described Gelsey's first Giselle in New York) (for which I led the standing room line, incidentally), but as a "Giselle for all time." When Gelsey danced Giselle (or almost anything else) it was an Event. [Yes I know Kirkland/Baryshnikov was the Event, but I'm making a point.] Based on what I've seen her dance this season (Kitri, Odette/Odile, and Giselle), whenever Vishneva dances anything, it's an Event.

I saw Vishneva's Swan Lake this past Sat. mat., and expect to mini-review that later also. Not quite as perfect as Giselle (nothing could be), but real close. She is absolutely extraordinary, and I hope ABT gets her back for the next Met season. Would love to see her do Juliet [Hint, Kevin; If you can't get Cojocaru, or even if you can, get Vishneva back. She sells tickets like in the old days!] . I missed the Corsairs, but saw Wiles's Raymonda. OK. And Fokine: Sylphides was super in ABT's fine new staging, as was Cornejo, again, in Spectre. More later when I can escape from my day job.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:52 am 
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Vishneva as Juliet !! Your dream may come true, Balletomaniac. I see that R&J is on the schedule for the Kennedy Center in January and February. That's a good omen for The Met spring season. I won't uncross my fingers until next May.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:49 am 
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Great!! But we'll only have to keep our fingers crossed until December or so, as least as to what/who's scheduled.
Did you see the schedule for October at City Center? Someone listened to me and they're doing "The Green Table", which I saw with the Joffrey years ago, and they're finally reviving "Rodeo." Could Sarah Lane do Cowgirl? Probably would be a stretch at this point - don't know if she can do comedy and she may be too cute, but in my mind's eye I see shades of Chris Sarry. [Kevin - second hint of the day - if a hole opens up in the fall schedule, try Tudor's "Leaves are Fading". You've got several who could do it; maybe not quite like Gelsey or Amanda, but part of the fun is watching them grow, it would fit the fall schedule well, and it wouldn't hurt to do two Tudors in one season.] [The fact that I had this thought after my previous Cowgirl comment is completely accidental. Reyes would be able to do it. Too.]


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